Review: Good Girls Don't Die by Isabelle Grey (4.5/5)

Tuesday 7 October 2014
You’d know if someone close to you was capable of lethal violence, right?

Dead wrong.

Accused of grassing up a fellow officer and driven brutally out of home and job, Grace Fisher is thankful to survive some dark times and find haven with the Major Investigation Team in Essex.

One female student is missing, last seen at a popular bar in Colchester. When a second student, also out drinking, is murdered and left grotesquely posed, the case becomes headline news.

Someone is leaking disturbing details to a tabloid crime reporter. Is it the killer? Or a detective close to the case?

With another victim, and under siege by the media, the murder enquiry hits a dead end. The review team brought in to shake things up is headed by Grace’s old DCI. Who is going to listen to her now?

I loved the sound of this book after reading its blurb and hoped it would meet my expectations. I'm glad to say that it did. Our main character is DS Grace Fisher who I warmed to immediately. It felt like I already knew her and not like I'd only just met her. Once a DI she is now disgraced, in the midst of a divorce and hoping Essex is the place she can start afresh.

Her first case with new partner Lance is the case of a missing student named Polly. No sooner have they attempted to investigate than a second student, Rachel is found dead and sexually mutilated. The public are worried and Grace's job is about to become a lot more difficult as the case is played out very publicly in the press. As one of the more outspoken journalists Roxanne is an old friend of Grace's, all eyes are on Grace when sensitive information leaks out to the press...

The two girls share a connection and it's Grace's job to try and find out who is responsible for the murder and where Polly is. Whether she is even alive. There's a number of suspects in the line up all of whom could easily have been responsible. For me though and the reason I gave this book 4.5 instead of 5 was that I chose my suspect very early on and I was correct. The book therefore lost some of its tension and I wasn't surprised by its conclusion. That said it does take a lot to throw me off course as a seasoned crime reader!

What we have here though is a very normal yet realistic case. It's something we could read about in the news or watch on the latest TV drama which given the background of Isabelle Grey is to be expected. It's a very enjoyable police procedural reminding me at times of Lynda La Plante. I love police procedurals, from the normal stuff like interviewing friends and trying to work out which piece of the puzzle goes where to the interviewing of the suspects where we can really get inside their heads. Isabelle's knowledge and background adds an authenticity to the novel that amateurs just can't provide and that makes the book so much more enjoyable.

The character of Grace is well developed and we learn so much about her yet there's still stuff we don't know. She's somewhat of a lost soul and given her past I am rooting for her to find the happiness she so obviously craves. For that reason this absolutely has to be the start of a series and if book two isn't in the works I am going to be sorely disappointed. The characters, the setting, the storytelling and the writing are just too good for this not to be a series. I have no trouble recommending this book to anyone who likes a realistic, gripping police procedural as they rarely get much better than this. Just for me a few more red herrings were needed!

Thanks to Quercus for the review copy. 

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